Retired Shaq: Battle Rhyming and Black Comedy

A new video is circulating that features Shaq spitting a battle-rhyme aimed at other centers. He makes passing reference to Wilt and Kareem, but saves his best lugs (relatively speaking) for – of course – Dwight Howard.

“Like I said before, you will get devoured/But don’t you ever call me, Dwight Howard/Ask that boy LeBron/Who the hell is the real Superman/I let my rings do the talkin’/As you can see, these talk quite often/Who’s the best of the best?/I was born with the ‘S’”

Take that…I guess.

Here’s what’s unimportant: the dopeness of Shaq’s quick rhyme and whether or not Shaq’s being childish by consistently needling Howard.

Shaq’s title as greatest athlete-rapper is undisputed and it’ll always have less to do with quality and almost everything to do with authenticity. No athlete will ever purvey something as hip-hop, clever, biting and culturally relevant as “Kobe, tell me how @$$ tastes.” That was a big joker Shaq slammed so hard that his palm crashed through the card table. I wrote about that here and about Shaq’s hip-hopness here. And there’s also nothing wrong – absolutely nothing wrong – with Shaq’s continued insistence to diminish Howard. Our friend Vinnie Goodwill thinks differently, but, as far as I’m concerned, until Dwight officially apologizes for the most deplorable instance of unapologetic and prolonged biting in sports history, then Shaq can keep sniping.

Plus, The Diesel had Loaded Lux at his side. Lux even gave us his trademark “Be-lov-ed.”  Usually that would be all that mattered – that Shaq’s still culturally keyed-in enough to know that, “If I’m gonna spit a quick battle-rhyme for fun, I might as well reach out to Lux for the dopest co-sign of 2012.” That’s why Shaq is Shaq. Howard would have snagged Diggy Simmons.

I’m digressing on a digression…

Here’s what’s important, though: This “Comedy Shaq” channel on YouTube looks all the way legit. 

This could end up being, like, a black version of “Funny or Die.” There are plenty of black and brown people popping up on “Funny or Die”; but, there’s a difference between a black comedian and black comedy. Hannibal Buress is a black man and a comedian (he’s also hysterical); yet, a white guy like Gary Owen does more black comedy than Buress. Black comedy is not a derogatory term to diminish it as less deserving or legitimate as other comedy (although, surely, it can be used that way). Black comedy is an actual thing – it has its own unique aesthetic, tone, timing, subject matter and all that.

Shaq’s All Star Comedy Jams are black comedy. Shaq’s All Star Comedy Roast was black comedy. That could be Shaq’s post-retirement lane…not as a comedian, but as an impresario.

It was widely held that Shaq would be Charles Barkley’s successor as the most visible, respected and engaging ex-athlete analyst/commentator. It’s not quite working out that way. Maybe it’s the wrong show, maybe it’s inexperience, but Shaq’s rookie season with “Kenny, Ernie and Chuck” wasn’t met with universal acclaim. The problem, though, is that Shaq isn’t KG or Tim Duncan or even Kobe – legends that will probably retire halfway quietly to private life. He needs a “thing.” This could be it. I’m interested in how this goes down.

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